The Philip C. Jessup International Law Moot Court Competition (Jessup) is the world’s oldest and largest international mooting competition, recently celebrating its 50th year, with over 500 law schools from all over the world regularly competing. The competition involves teams, each with up to 5 law students, making written and oral submissions on a detailed problem involving issues of international law.

The Jessup moot competition is extremely competitive.  Because of the number of teams competing each year, national and regional qualifying rounds are organised around the world.  The Australian qualifying rounds are normally held in Canberra in February.  The Australian final is normally in the High Court of Australia and is presided over by a Justice of the High Court.  French CJ has been a strong supporter of the competition for many years and judged the 2015 Australian final.  The top 2 Australian teams normally qualify for the international finals in Washington DC 9-15 April 2017.  UQ teams have an extraordinarily proud history in the Jessup moot competition, most recently being the most successful Australian team in the international finals in Washington DC.

Whilst the 2017 topic has not yet been released (this will happen in September), the US based organisers of the competition have indicated that the 2017 topic “will address transboundary aquifers, basic human rights including the rights to food and water, and what happens when arguable violations of those rights generate refugee outflows”.  A problem normally runs for about 20 pages and it is important that our team is selected before the problem is released.

Applications have closed. If there are extenuating circumstances relating to your expression of interest, please contact Prof Anthony Cassimatis.​

Students should simply register their interest to indicate they wish to apply for selection. There is no need to include a CV or resume. 

There will be an information session at 6pm on Tuesday 2 August that all interested candidates for selection should attend. The selection process will be explained in more detail at this meeting.

Candidates will be asked to present oral submissions in a selection moot to be held in the week commencing 22 August. The selection moots will be based on the 2016 Jessup problem and all candidates will be given the written submissions prepared by the 2016 UQ team to assist in the preparation of oral submissions for the selection moots. 

The selection moots will be followed by interviews that will hopefully be held in the same week.

Please contact Prof Cassimatis if you have any questions about the Jessup competition.

Students will receive a grant to cover a portion of their airfare to the competition(s). Registration and accommodation is provided by the Law School.

Students are responsible for ensuring they have the necessary visas for travel to the region.

Should a student’s financial situation present a barrier to his/her participation in the moot, s/he is invited to contact the Director of Mooting.


Students participating in the Jessup Moot will be automatically eligible for 2# of course credit.

What if I'm only a first year student?

UQ has selected first year students in the past but this has been rare. The Jessup competition is tough and it is generally better for students to have completed at least one or two years of law study.

What if I don’t have any mooting experience?

Whilst it is a mooting competition and mooting and debating experience is valuable, it is not essential. Previous successful UQ Jessup teams have included members who did not initially have mooting experience. I say “initially” because all members of the team will be required to moot on numerous occasions as the team prepares for the competition. There is no better way to get mooting experience than competing in the Jessup competition. It should also be emphasised that there is a significant written component in the competition (2 written submissions or “memorials” must be prepared – a total of about 24 000 words). We’re always looking for at least 1 or 2 fantastic researchers for team selection, although the whole team must be involved in drafting the written submissions.

What if I haven’t yet studied international law?

Selection does not depend on having previously studied international law. It certainly helps but many successful Jessup mooters have been selected without having first studied international law. It is more work for such students as they need to do extra background reading but the Jessup problem is always very specialised and goes into issues in much more detail than would be possible in a general course on international law.

How much work is involved and when is the work the heaviest?

The competition involves an immense amount of hard work if you want to be successful. For example, good teams will do approximately 25 practice moots as they prepare for Canberra. The work load is heaviest in December and January, with spikes in activity prior to the due date for the written submissions (normally early January) and before departure for Canberra.

I'm planning to do a summer clerkship, is that compatible with competing in the Jessup moot competition?

It is very hard to balance a December or January clerkship with Jessup moot participation. Students have tried it in the past, often unsuccessfully. It must be remembered that major law firms have sponsored Jessup moot participation at UQ. These firms have been keenly aware of the hard work done by Jessup mooters and have valued Jessup moot participation extremely highly for the research and advocacy skills that Jessup mooters invariably develop. UQ teams are often invited to moot at the offices of firms in the city as they prepare for Canberra. A large number of former UQ Jessup mooters now work for these firms and the partners and associates at the firms now include former Jessup mooters. Far from doing harm to potential career prospects, Jessup moot participation appears to significantly improve the employment prospects of team members.

Applications have now closed. If there are extenuating circumstances relating to your expression of interest, please contact Prof Anthony Cassimatis.